DY: In Just a Few Words (#93)
You can't say I didn't try.
When we moved to Shaker Heights in 1967, our intent was to stay five years, then to go further east. In fact, we ended up staying 18 years, eventually moving to Solon in 1985.
Shaker works a little differently than most other cities. No need to hire a home inspector when purchasing a house here. The City handles this. When one sells a home in Shaker Heights, you’re required to undergo a City inspection. And, these inspectors don’t mess around. They’re excellent at protecting home values.
So, we called the Housing Department in early 1985 and asked to have someone come over and identify any issues we needed to address before selling the house.
Well, sir, you need to fix the sashes in a couple of windows. You have some bad paneling in your basement. The brick work on the chimney needs some pointing. Etc. You get the point. We had work to be done.
I got the name of a reputable home fix-it guy and he came over to scope out the extent of the work. He took a hard look at everything and said, I think we can do this for about $2,500. That sounded fine to me and we shook hands on that amount.
Next day, some lumber and bricks arrived, along with some power tools. Bzzzzz! Work was underway. A couple of days later came a knock at our front door. All done. Wow, what service!
Great. Send me a bill as soon as you can.
A couple of weeks went by. No invoice. So, I called him. Hi, just a friendly reminder to send your bill.
Another couple of weeks and I called again. We’re moving tomorrow and I want to make sure you have our new Solon address and phone number. Let’s get the bill taken care of.
Fast forward another two or, possibly, three weeks. I’m calling once again to say you haven’t sent us a bill for the work you did on our Shaker Heights house.
Yes, yes, I have the address and I’ve just been too busy to get it to you. But, I will do so very soon.
Folks, that's the last time we ever talked. It's now been 37 years since that call. No further contact. No invoice. Zero.
But, the good news is that he did send us a Christmas card in 1993.
I honestly do not understand how people can stay in business when they don’t charge customers in a timely fashion - or ever. Tracy and Keith had a landscape service for years that charged them maybe every 18 months. Another family member has a pool man who charges with about the same frequency. Pretty sure they don’t teach this business model in school.
At this point, though, I am moving on. I asked for an invoice several times. So, don’t even think about sending one now. 37 years. Incredible.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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